Red Bull’s Horner believes Pirelli test programme hampered 2017 development

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Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner regrets the teams decision to join the Pirelli 2017 test programme as it led the team down the wrong route when finalising the design of this years car.

While many expected Red Bull to gain an advantage over rivals in taking part in the tests, Horner believes they didn’t get as much out of the programme as hoped.

Talking to’s GP Gazette he said,  “Obviously the regulation change was reasonably significant over the winter, and I think actually running the Pirelli mule car hurt us in a few ways,” said Horner.

“A few things changed late in with the tyres that we potentially were designing the car around. I think that may have perhaps influenced our development direction.

“I wouldn’t say it backfired, but it definitely led us in a direction that wasn’t conducive to the tyres that were ultimately nominated.

“The simple facts are that Mercedes and Ferrari did a better job of interpreting those regulations than we did over the winter. We then found ourselves on the back foot in winter testing.”

“We didn’t do anywhere near as many miles as we wanted to, because we were sat in the garage for a lot of the time with engine issues, so it was only really after Australia that we got to see a picture, and we’d got quite a bit of performance to find,” he said.

“The characteristics the drivers were describing from the car, it wasn’t a well balanced car. A huge amount of effort has gone into understanding the areas of weakness and addressing those. The first step to that was the upgrade we introduced in Barcelona.”

Despite the issues, Horner is confident that the team can mount a comeback and get over the issues.

“We know the areas of weakness, and it’s then addressing those weaknesses,” he added. “I think that’s half the battle in many respects.

“We’ve got a very capable group of people that have demonstrated what their potential is with previous cars, and I’ve got no doubt that they will sort this car out.

“You obviously get into diminishing returns. But we definitely closed the gap in Barcelona, and we’re going in the right direction. I believe the second half of the season for us will be far more competitive than the first.”